How does the Cooper County Public Health Center conduct a disease  investigation?


How does the Cooper County Public Health Center conduct a disease  investigation? 


 If the local public health center does not release the name of each new covid  case how will I know if I have been exposed? 

  • Each public health department has nursing staff that interviews the  newly diagnosed patient. If the patient is too ill to talk, we interview their emergency contacts and or family. We may also interview the  hospital, nursing staff, infection control, first responders, EMT’s and sometimes even the nurse practitioner or  physician. 
  • We ask questions about their home life; do they live alone or with others. Do they work? When was the last time they reported for work?  If so where? Do they have children? If so what age and where do they go to school or daycare. What public places has the patient  been to? Have they traveled? 
  • When did symptoms start? What type of symptoms if any did, they have?  
  • Once the person started experiencing symptoms who did they have contact with? Where did they go?  Same questions as above. 
  • All this information is analyzed if there are questions, we talk with epidemiologists/disease specialists at Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for clarification.  
  • If it appears that a positive case was symptomatic at a public venue, we will make a public announcement through press releases that individuals attending the public venue may have been exposed. 
  • For close contacts such as work, home, school, friend or any other smaller setting we will contact those individuals privately. 
  • If we contact someone privately, we will ask the same questions as above and provide education about the disease and further instructions in case signs and symptoms of the disease develop. In the case of  covid diagnosis any close contacts will be  quarantined at home if possible. If they are homeless or a in a special situation then alternative housing location will be developed. 


 Health privacy laws prevent the release of names of individuals who have been diagnosed with a communicable disease. 


The Cooper County Public Health Center staff work closely with the epidemiologists, local physicians , nurse practitioners and healthcare facilities. Information from local investigations is shared by law with the Missouri  Department of Health and Senior Services. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) works directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work directly with the World Health Organization  in Geneva, Switzerland otherwise known as the WHO. 



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